North Star defensive back Andy Morgan said after the game it wasn’t planned, and certainly wasn’t prepared.

That may be true, but a circus play after Morgan’s interception did look good, and it led to North Star’s first of three straight touchdowns during a 27-6 homecoming victory over Conemaugh Valley on Friday night in a WestPAC Section I game.

Morgan picked off a pass from Robert Gunby at the Conemaugh Valley 47, then returned the ball to the 20, where he was spun around.

The football popped loose and teammate Josh Burns caught the falling ball in stride.

Burns continued the return to the Blue Jays 8 and one play later, Greg Scrimager scored the game’s opening touchdown for the Cougars (4-2 overall, 2-2 Section I).

“That actually wasn’t intentional,” Morgan said. “I was just going as fast as I could and didn’t want to slow up. The lineman hit me and the ball just popped out, he hit me pretty hard.”

Morgan’s play on the interception may have been highlight-reel stuff, but he and his mates did a sterling job on Gunby, limiting the Blue Jays’ explosive running back to 135 yards on 33 carries. He did score a touchdown and had a long run called back by a penalty.

The effort was enough to give the senior 1,024 yards this season, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark with a 44-yard carry in the fourth quarter. The Blue Jays dropped to 3-3 overall, 1-3 Section I.

“He’s definitely real fast, and when he gets to the outside you have to run as fast as you can to catch up to him,” Morgan said. “He’s hard to tackle, especially on a slippery field like this, but I think we got the job done.”

Logan Fleegle gave the Cougars a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter, scoring from a yard out three plays after Alijah Petrilla returned a punt 55 yards, to the Blue Jays 10.

After a series of penalties, Scrimager’s conversion run from the 5 gave the hosts a 14-0 lead, which held into halftime.

“Defensively we couldn’t stop them,” Conemaugh Valley coach Tom Marshall said. “On the run, we made some critical mistakes. The penalty on the long run Robert made. A couple of long punt returns. That combined with the fact that defensively we didn’t play very well – we couldn’t stop basic running plays, which is all there is to it.”

The Cougars made it 20-0 on a 53-yard touchdown by Alec Eutin, who took a handoff in motion and found a seam off the left end.

“We moved the ball real well,” North Star coach Stacy Schmitt said. “Our offensive line did a super job opening holes for us and the backs have been running hard the last few games and that’s what we need.”

Scrimager (11 carries) and Kyle Bowser (14 carries) each had 48 yards for North Star, which turned the ball over four times.

Gunby finally put the Blue Jays on the board with a 1-yard touchdown with a little over eight minutes left, pulling his team within 20-6 after a failed conversion.

Looking to get the ball back again, the Blue Jays went with an onside kick. But Jesse Peterman snatched the ball out of the air and went 50 yards for the touchdown, pushing the lead to 27-6 after Winston Shaulis’ extra point.

With an even record in section play, and two games over .500, the Cougars have lofty goals entering the final third of the schedule.

North Star will play at Berlin during Week 7 in its final section game before closing with Blacklick Valley and Shade.

“We want to finish off the season with wins and make it to the playoffs,” Morgan said, “but we need to take it one game at a time.”

Conemaugh Valley has a chance to rebound against Conemaugh Township before playing Ferndale and visiting Blacklick Valley.

“We have to – more or less – take some lessons from what we learned here and put it behind us,” Marshall said. “We have three weeks left and we can still play in the playoffs if we play decent football. It’s what we have to do.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you